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Tower Hamlets’ new mayor tackles post code’ health lottery

PUBLISHED: 19:00 27 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:05 05 October 2010

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Carmen Valino

MOTIN Uz-Zaman began his year of office at Tower Hamlets with a mission to fight poor health in deprived pockets of London’s East End. “Your life expectancy should not be determined by the postcode you live in,” he said

ABOVE: THE moment outgoing mayor Ahmed Omer (left) gives up his Chain of Office at the end of his Big Year at Tower Hamlets. He broke new ground as Britain’s first Somali mayor, but now it was time to hand over to Motin Uz-Zaman, looking on (right)...

BELOW: The Town Hall’s head superintendent, Peter Miller, carefully places the mayoral chain on Motin’s shoulders to start off his year...

By Mike Brooke

Pictures: Carmen Valino

MOTIN Uz-Zaman began his year of office at Tower Hamlets last night with a mission to fight poor health and high rates of early-age mortality in deprived pockets of London’s East End.

The man who heads patient engagement at Barts and The London NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital at Whitechapel, took over as possibly the last ceremonial mayor before Tower Hamlets votes in its first-ever directly-elected mayor on October 21.

His role after that becomes Mr Speaker’ of the council chamber, modelled on Parliament.

He told the packed council chamber of his commitment to reduce health inequalities in the East End.

“Your life expectancy should not be determined by the postcode you live in,” he said. “We have to work with our NHS partners to improve the population’s health.”

He echoed Tower Hamlets’ new council leader Helal Habbas’s fears about cuts to public service.

“Resources are going to be scare,” Cllr Uz-Zaman continued. “We need to ensure every £ we spend and every decision we make is the best value. We’ll need to do more with less.”

His two charities he will fundraise for are London’s Helicopter Emergency medical service at the Royal London and a trust which helps girls in rural areas of Sylhet in northern Bangladesh get education.

The new council Cabinet under Helal Abbas was also confirmed last night. Joshua Peck is his Deputy, while Shahed Ali holds the environment brief, David Edgar budget and resources, Marc Francis housing and planning, Sirajul Islam regeneration and employment, Denise Jones culture and creative industries, Abdal Ullah community safety, Shiria Khatun schools and children’s services and Rachael Saunders health and wellbeing.

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